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Measures against the third wave have been in force since January 7: Will advancing the curfew help to stop the spread of COVID-19?

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With the confirmation that Peru is going through a third wave of infections of coronavirus, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) approved a series of measures to prevent cases from soaring and that leads to the collapse of the health system, as occurred during the first and second waves of the pandemic.

At a press conference, the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, announced the new health measures that the Executive is taking. The main one is that Lima, Callao and 23 other provinces raise their risk level from moderate to high. This means that in these jurisdictions the compulsory social immobilization or curfew It will start at 11 pm (no longer at 2 am) and will last until 4 am the next day. To comply with this measure, shops and other establishments must close at 10 at night.

READ ALSO | Restrictions, curfew and all the measures that will govern the third wave

In addition to the extension of the curfew, the capacity in the premises is also being reduced [ver infografía]. The measures will take effect from tomorrow, since today the supreme decree 002-2022-PCM, which approves these provisions.

Minister Cevallos specified that in these jurisdictions a greater transmission of the virus has been detected, as well as a considerable increase in the occupation of beds ICU.

According to Peruvian Society of Intensive Medicine, the occupation of ICU nationwide it reached 60%; however, in Lima it is 75% and in the regions of Piura, Lambayeque and La Libertad the figure exceeds 80%. According to the statement of January 4, Ministry of Health (Minsa), there are 899 seriously ill patients on mechanical ventilation.

Strategies and actions

For the elected dean of the Medical College of Peru, Raúl Urquizo, the Minsa makes the same mistakes of the first and second waves when it takes time to buy more beds ICU and molecular tests, despite the fact that a third wave months ago. Minister Cevallos has indicated that in 10 days 300 ICU beds will arrive and that in February there will be another batch of 300. He also announced the qualification of 750 points for citizens to take the molecular test for free.

LOOK: This is the panorama in vaccinations one day after the announcement of the third wave

At points already established in Lima, such as Campo de Marte, La Videna or Huiracocha Park, long lines and crowds were observed yesterday. Urquizo considers that it is due to the lack of coordination of the Minsa.

In the opinion of the President of the Peruvian Medical Federation, pulmonologist Danilo Salazar, the error of the Minsa has been not to repower the posts and health centers, where those infected with the new omicron variant will go.

The other flaw is, says Salazar, having increased the beds ICU without a policy that ensures more specialized medical personnel. According to the Minsa, general practitioners will be trained to join the care in these rooms.

About him curfew, the epidemiologist Julio Cachay believes that this measure will not reduce infections, but rather could increase them because the population will crowd in the establishments late at night.

They are political measures that we have already seen in the first and second waves that have not worked to cut transmission. Its efficiency is unproven”, He commented to El Comercio.

Yes, it agrees with the Minsa, it rules out going back to quarantines, because these are not effective in large cities like Lima, where the population cannot be controlled. “Quarantines are most effective in small geographic areas. In cities like Lima, with more than 10 million inhabitants, it does not affect transmission“, He said.

A different idea has the epidemiologist Percy Mayta-Tristán about him curfew, because it considers that it is a strategy to avoid night meetings.

They have not taken us to a strict quarantine, which is good, but it is necessary to take measures for greater transmissibility. So, the first measure of identifying which are the measures where there is greater transmission and changing their freedom seems to me to be the right thing to do. They are restrictions that we already knew for a long time, only that they were being applied in other provinces”Mayta-Tristán commented.

For Mayta-Tristán, Lima could be even at a higher risk level, due to the increase in cases. “Fortunately, to date we do not have a high volume of hospitalized and ICU”.

Cachay and Mayta-Tristán agree that the reduction of capacity is a necessary provision to preserve the distance between people within closed premises. They also agree that the beaches remain open, but controlling the capacity and demanding the vaccination card.


Why is there no clear information so far on how harmful omicron can be?
We are witnessing, almost in real time, how scientific research develops. That prevents us from having, until now, certainties about the omicron variant.


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